13 Stories about Harris by Amy Schwartz (9780823442492)
Harris is a little boy who lives with his parents in his urban neighborhood. In the thirteen (quite short) stories in this book, he is very busy. He draws a huge dragon on the sidewalk, helps in the kitchen, goes on a windy walk, attends his first birthday party, and heads to preschool for the first time. On Thanksgiving, Harris was a truck all day. On other days, he goes to the beach or takes care of a friend’s hamster. There is a lot to do!
Schwartz once again captures the activities and essence of being a preschooler. Harris is wonderfully open to all of his small adventures, experiencing a lot of them for the first time. The book exudes warmth and a family that allows their small child the space to explore and make mistakes but are also always attentive and around to help. The charm of these thirteen stories is remarkable, showing children that they are right where they need to be and that many of these experiences are universal to all small children.
The illustrations show a dynamic and diverse urban neighborhood where Harris is living. The illustrations have plenty of white space, the city streets sometimes taking over with their brick buildings and sidewalks.
Gorgeous preschool vignettes that show the delights of this age. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from e-galley provided by Holiday House.
Ming Goes to School by Deirdre Sullivan, illustrated by Maja Lofdahl (InfoSoup)
It is Ming’s first day of preschool. She says hello to new classmates and goodbye to her father. She does show-and-tell and builds sand castles. But she isn’t quite ready for the big red slide. In winter, she makes snow angels. Rests inside in the warmth and has tea parties. In spring she finds worms in puddles and makes flowers for the windows. Finally, it is the end of school. And just then, Ming realizes that she is ready for the big slide after all.
There is a lovely sense of time passing in this book, of seasonality without that being the main focus of the story. Ming herself doesn’t struggle to fit in with her classmates at all. Instead the focus is on what happens in a preschool classroom as the seasons pass and meanwhile the red slide waits, showing up occasionally throughout the book and just being there until Ming herself is ready. There is no sense of pressure for Ming to use the slide and no feeling of anxiety about it either. It is just there and ready to be conquered whenever Ming herself feels up to it.
The illustrations make this book exceptional. Painted with a softness and filled with light, the illustrations are simply gorgeous. They portray the warmth and friendliness of a preschool class, somehow exuding the feel of safety and kindness as well. They are bright yet subdued too and calming.
A lovely book for a child heading to preschool for the first time, this picture book will show there are slides that can wait to be climbed until the time is right. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from library copy.
Preschool Day Hooray! by Linda Leopold Strauss, illustrated by Hiroe Nakata
This friendly, bouncy book offers a glimpse at a preschool day that is perfect for children heading to preschool for the first time. The book follows the course of a day in preschool. It begins at the breakfast table, moves through arrival and drop off, crafts and playground play, snack and naptime, dancing and toys, to parents picking up the children. Strauss’ verse is just right for small children with a happy cadence that is easy to read aloud.
Nakata’s illustrations add to the friendly appeal of the book with their rosy-cheeked children who are often doing their own thing rather than acting as a group. The illustrations are very child-focused and reveal the mess and exploration of preschool.
My only issue in the book, which is filled with children of different colors, is that at the end of the book only Mommy is mentioned as picking children up after school even though the illustrations also show a father. I’d rather have had Mommy changed to parents in the verse to show that Daddy is just as involved.
A very positive view of preschool, get this into the hands of new preschoolers! It is printed on heavy pages with a sturdy binding, ideal for little eager hands. Appropriate for ages 1-4.
Reviewed from copy received from Scholastic.
Oliver at the Window by Elizabeth Shreeve, illustrated by Candice Hartsough McDonald
Not only have Oliver’s parents separated, but he has started preschool. He spends most of the day hugging his stuffed lion and looking out the window watching for one of his parents to come and take him home. But home isn’t the same either. He is never quite sure which house he is going to that night. As the days pass, Oliver gets more involved in his class, painting his mother’s house and drawing his father’s. By the end of the book, he is able to help a new little girl who is standing by the window and crying.
Shreeve sets a delicate tone with this book that manages to tackle very serious issues without bogging down into didacticism. In just a few short pages, Oliver experiences real, tangible and believable growth as he works through the changes in his life. McDonald’s color pencil art is simple and almost child-like. Both artist and author use Oliver’s lion as a symbol of his growth to great effect.
Recommended for any child going through changes in their life. This is a book filled with hope and ringing with honesty. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from publisher. Book will be placed in library collection.